My Coop Checklist

By Nutcase · Oct 13, 2013 · ·
  1. Nutcase
    My Coop Checklist

    So you’ve built a coop, but are you sure you’ve got everything sorted out? Here is a list to help new chicken keepers prepare for their first flock. ​
    Does your coop have:


    Nesting boxes?



    Sufficient bedding?
    There are many different materials you could use as coop bedding. I use hay, but wood shavings can work just as well. Just remember that in the summer chickens don’t require as much heat retention as they do in winter.

    Is your coop:

    If your coop has no airflow your flock could succumb to respiratory diseases. Make sure some light and fresh air can get in, while still sheltering them from potential bad weather.
    You may need to fix mesh or chicken wire along the bottom of coop to prevent potential predators. Make sure they can’t dig in or climb in from the top and sides.

    Having a movable coop is a great asset, although it's not vital to the health of your flock. With a portable coop you could move it to higher ground as needed. It can be as easy as adding wheels underneath the floor of your coop, and in fact some people use horse floats as coops.

    4 square feet per bird is sufficient, but you may need more or less depending on how much time the chickens spend in the coop. For example free range chickens need less room because they are out and about all day long.

    Is your run:


    Make the fence high enough so your chickens can’t fly over, but low enough that you can lean over it. This will make things much easier in future.
    If your dog slammed into the fence or tried to climb it, would it bend and give way?
    Your chickens need room to run around and have fun! Besides, lack of room can promote poor egg production and feather picking.

    Does your run have:

    Soil and greenery?
    Your chickens will get bored very quickly without any plants or grass. They also need soil to bathe in, as this helps them get rid of parasites.
    A constantly shaded area?
    Shade needs to be available at all times in some part of the run. Without it your chickens will overheat and possibly die.

    Enjoy keeping your flock! As always, feel free to offer suggestions for this article. Thanks!

    - Nutcase

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  1. Pretty Chickens
    How much room do I need for 12 chickens? Right now My coop has 6ft but they are still small and every day they free grange for about 3 hours.
  2. Pretty Chickens
  3. BoostPsi
    good information, I passed the checklist in all categories except the ventilation. I have a pre fabbed coop with added extended run (precision pet products extreme cape cod coop). The coop part definitely isn't sealed air tight, the front door and the nesting box hinged roof will definitely let a little air through but I wouldn't consider it ventilation. Can anyone recommend tips or tricks?

    Right now I'm using pine shavings but I was thinking straw or hay might be better in the nesting boxes when they reach laying age
  4. DianaMallory
    Thanks for the check list! I think you need to add somethings to it. If you have predator problems in your area you need to remember chicken wire was designed to keep chickens out not predators! We have coopers hawks were I live and my girls have to have a completely enclosed run! Never use chicken wire to predator proof! Use hardware cloth!
  5. BeeInNorthAZ
    Seriously good timing on this awesome article. I'm in the middle of building my coop right now and I will definitely be referring back to this article regularly. THANKS!!
  6. gratch73a
    Good information. Had to look up what a "horse float was" , only to realize I all ready knew what it was.
  7. MyPetNugget
    Fantastic article! This is great!
  8. youngchooklover
  9. SkyWorld
    Hi chicki-Vicki, I am not expert like some of the good folk here, but one thing I learned is that you really can not make your coop or run too big. I have six girls in a 3x5 coop, with a 7x12 foot run. It is working out great for me, however I wish I could make the run bigger. One thing I would add to the list is ease of cleaning and a place to compost the pooh. The girls are getting bigger and the pooh is getting more fragrant. It only takes me a few minutes to do a daily clean up and once a week or two I do a big wash out and sanitize. Good luck!
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  11. chicki-vicki
    I'm still in the dreaming and drawing stage. Thank you for the check off list In my chicken notebook I was able to check of each one. Along with a planed cleanout 1/2 door I'm hoping will allow me to shovel & sweep out the coop ever so often, and safe for garden compost. I landed a nice auto exhaust fan for the eves, & a auto coop door. I thought about having no windows on the north side, but whatever I can manage on the eastside. I understand to insulate ( the chickens will pick at it if they can get to it) so I've decided on formed sheets instead of loose batting & then cover it. Thank you especially for the amount of room needed per chicken. I had no idea. The spot where I believe the coop and run will be going has well water piped & electricity already. I intended to divide the building in half. Coop half & storage / me half' I've worked hard taking in all the help on BYC. My plans are for 8' w x 16'D .
    I'm thinking the run will be the hardest. The top on the run will be half covered for shade & half covered with something to keep the predators held off.
    Hubby says that's to big, but my thinking I don't wont to be adding on, just do it once. I'm starting small since I don't know squat about what I'm doing . Thinking 6 to 8 and a rooster. I saw and liked a feeding system out of PVC pipe on the storage side and a 45 going through the wall that they can feed out of. Watering with PVC pipe fitted with nipples and mounted on an outside wall so there's water inside and out. I know about the dusting box, it's importance. I still don't understand talk about brooding? And when I looked at diseases & illnesses- that almost made be quite right then. I have some more learning to do. But I'm hoping to have it all ready for spring baby chicks. I also have a brooder design I like and pretty well understand. If you have anything else that would help a newbie I'm all ears.
    I plan on buying a portable bldging, since none of us are carpenters. ( we did finish the inside of our deer camp) so it should be about the same. The run I think we can handle. I have lots of cut out pics and articles off BYC to take from.
  12. Nutcase
    Good luck with your coop, eggspectation! :)
  13. eggspectation
    Thanks to helpful posts like yours we were well prepared for our chicks to leave the brooder and start enjoying their new coop and run. Now we are working on our third coop so we will have a new home for our Spring batch of chicks.
  14. chickenboy190
    Thanks for sharing! :~D

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